Cool off this summer with yoga, meditation and breathing techniques. Stay focused, healthy and happy with some simple practices.
Summer time means different things for different people. A time to holiday, hit the beach, and relax.
However you view summer, one thing is constant: it's hot. Really, really warm and muggy. And isn’t each year seemingly getting warmer?
5 Yoga Tips to Cool Off This Summer
From a yoga practitioner’s point of view, it's part of change. One season flows into another – each one brings its set of changes. A yogi will simply look at the changes and act: do some best practices to ensure the body and mind stay fit.
Here are five yoga tips. You could choose a favorite yoga tip and practice it regularly or even do all.
#1: The secret is in your breath
The next time you’re waiting for a bus or have a few minutes before you rush out for the day, try the Sheetali pranayama.
Stick your tongue out and curl the sides of the tongue upward towards the center of the tongue.
Breathe in through the mouth, hold the breath and slowly exhale through the nose.
Repeat five to 10 times.
You’ll find your body temperature cooling down.
#2: Drink up
The more you hydrate yourself, the better. With 70 percent of water in your body, you’d better ensure there’s lot of liquid out there. Besides drinking gallons of fluids, you could include the Sheetkari pranayama in your routine. Here's how:
Close the right nostril with your right thumb.
Exhale completely through the left nostril and then breathe in through the left nostril.
Close the left nostril with your little ring finger and exhale through the right.
Repeat five to 10 times.
Lots of people find that Sheetkari helps to quench thirst. So if you’re stranded without water somewhere, you know what to do. And even if you have all the fluids, do the sheetkari. It also helps to cool the body.
Friendly caution: Sheetkari is not a substitute for water or fluids. Drink up, for sure.
#3: Calm the nerves
When the temperature is hot outside, it’s likely that we lose our tempers, get impatient and tired. That's where Chandrabhedi steps in. This breathing technique has a cooling effect on the nervous system and on the nadis (subtle channels of energy).
With mouth open, clench your teeth and press the tongue against the teeth. Breathe in.
Close your mouth and breathe out normally through the nostrils.
Repeat five to 10 times: inhaling from the left and exhaling from the right.
After the pranayama, lie down in Shavasan (Corpse pose). It’ll relax and refresh you.
#4: Slow down on yoga poses
Yoga poses practiced gently and meditatively balance the mind and body and are beneficial at any time of the year. Shavasana and meditation are especially good in summer.
Any physical activity increases body temperature. That is why it’s best to avoid excessive or strenuous asanas when it is extremely hot. Early in the morning or late in the evening are the best times to practice yoga postures during summer.
‘Pitta’ type people should avoid fast paced yoga poses. If the temperature is very high avoid brisk breathing techniques like Kapal Bhati and Agnisara.
#5: Swear by Shavasana
Eat, drink and be happy
- Reduce intake of spicy food, tea, coffee and sugar.
- Avoid fatty food because it puts extra burden on the digestive system and heart.
- Consume larger quantities of fruits, vegetables and yoghurt. Though, not together.
- Minimize consumption of non-vegetarian food.
- Increase your intake of lime water with a pinch of salt.
Remember: A squeeze of lime can be cooling, but too much of it can aggravate pitta.
After a long day, do you want to unwind in the evening? Lie down in Shavasana near a wall – with your feet touching the wall. Raise your legs and rest your feet on the wall. After holding the posture for a minute or two, bring the legs down and rest in Shavasana. You’ll find this yoga pose refreshing and restorative. How does this work? Since the heart is pumping out more blood, when the temperature is high, this yoga pose helps the heart by returning more blood back to the heart. (Here we use gravity to bring the blood back to the heart.)
Caution: Those with high blood pressure and back problems should avoid this yoga posture. An easier alternative to this yoga pose is to pile up some pillows and rest your feet on them.
These are some of the practices which have been loved by our readers. We’d love to hear about how you use yoga to cool during the summer.
Based on inputs by an Art of Living Yoga teachers: Kishan Verma, Dinesh Kashikar and Kaushani Desai, Ayurvedic Cooking teacher.
Yoga practice helps develop the body and mind bringing a lot of health benefits yet is not a substitute for medicine. It is important to learn and practice yoga techniques under the supervision of a trained Art of Living Yoga teacher. In case of any medical condition, practice yoga techniques after consulting a doctor and an Art of Living Yoga teacher. Find an Art of Living Yoga course at an Art of Living Center near you. Do you need information on courses or share feedback? Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.